AUMA recently submitted input to the Fair Deal Panel, convened by Premier Kenney last November to consult with Albertans on measures to secure a fair deal from the federal government for the Province.
AUMA’s submission primarily focused on the two measures the panel is considering that would have the most impact on municipalities:
- Emulating Quebec’s legal requirement that public bodies, including municipalities and school boards, obtain the approval of the provincial government before they can enter into agreements with the federal government; and
- Establishing a provincial police force by ending the Alberta Police Service Agreement with the Government of Canada.
AUMA’s board of directors had the chance to discuss these measures with members of the Fair Deal Panel during their January board meeting. Our board members used the opportunity to emphasize that any requirement to obtain provincial government approval before a municipality can enter into an agreement with the federal government would be inconsistent with the province’s current focus on municipalities being accountable to meet their legislated mandate as efficiently and effectively as possible.
It is also counter to the red tape reduction initiative, which is intended to reduce and simplify administrative processes. In Quebec, both the province and municipalities have had to hire extra staff to manage this extra approval process.
In addition, although the establishment of a provincial police force may increase focus on Alberta law enforcement priorities, as opposed to those directed by the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa, the cost and administrative effort that would be required to transition to a provincial police force would be substantial. Given the current fiscal restraint measures underway in Alberta, the expenditure required to make this change would not likely be feasible for the provincial government at this time.
AUMA urged the panel to consider value for money and the best interests of Albertans in determining what recommendations to put forward to the province.
AUMA members are encouraged to share their thoughts with the Fair Deal Panel who have extended their consultation timelines into February. More information can be found here.